Ravens Monday Transcripts: Week 1 At New York Jets (9/5)


Opening statement:"Good to see everybody here. Jamison Hensley [ESPN] is especially enthusiastic today, which is good to see. (laughter)Everybody seems to be; it's good to see you guys. It looks like you got some rest over the weekend, too. I'm excited to get the guys back; we had our first full Jets practice, and we're getting ready for our opener. What questions do you have?"

The Jets said they will make a determination on starting quarterback on Wednesday after QB Zach Wilson worked out today. Does that alter your game planning? _(Jamison Hensley) _"We'll prepare for their offense. Both guys, they run the same offense, essentially, as far as we've seen. They bring their own flavor to it, their own style – of course, they're two different players – but we'll prepare for the offense and both quarterbacks."

How did T Ronnie Stanley look in his first practice? (Jonas Shaffer) _"Ronnie [Stanley], I thought he looked good in individual. You guys were all over there, what'd you think? I saw you guys over there – every camera was over there, every pen. _(laughter)You guys seemed focused. I was kind of watching the punt protection most of the time. (laughter)What'd you guys see? Let me know. (Reporter: "He looked good.")He looked good? OK, good. That's good to hear."

What is the plan for T Ronnie Stanley moving forward? _(Shawn Stepner) _"It just depends on how he's doing. A lot of it has to do with how he's feeling and if he's ready to go. If he feels strong, if he's moving and feels like he can be successful, and if we see what we need to see. Same thing with J.K. [Dobbins], Marcus [Peters] or any of those guys."

How do you prepare the rookies to play in their first regular season game? _(David Andrade) _"The biggest thing for those guys is poise. It's going to be quite an environment up there. We're going up to New York, going to be in the Meadowlands, it's going to be 9/11. It's a great honor to be chosen to go up there and play on 9/11. We take it very seriously, that part of it. We know the environment, we know how loud it's going to be, we know how enthusiastic they're going to be, their demeanor. They're going to be into it. We have to match that as best we can."

What challenges will the Jets' tight ends present for you? _(Melissa Kim) _"That's the thing … We've seen two of those guys, and then you have Jeremey Ruckert, the rookie from Ohio State. I actually watched him play quite a bit. But all three of those guys are all-around tight ends. That's the biggest challenge; none of those guys are one-dimensional tight ends. They all can block, they're all good in the passing game, they run a lot of boots, nakeds, they run a lot of what we call split-flow inside zone plays where they're blocking the back side. They lead block in the two-back stuff. They all kind of do everything. So, they're very versatile with those guys, and they're all good players."

Do you still see the same LB C.J. Mosley that you remember from Baltimore when you watch the Jets tape? _(Ryan Mink) _"Yes, [he's] just a playmaker. He's an instinctive guy, finds the ball, great tackler. Same player."

QB Lamar Jackson had said this was going to be a week where he would like to have contract negotiations ended. Are you aware of any updates with that situation? Has his deadline passed from what you can tell? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"Right, yes. I don't have any updates on that. There's nothing that I'm aware of; it's been football, football, football for players and coaches. That's kind of where we're at. My interactions with Lamar [Jackson] have been all football, and he's been focused and locked in on that 100%, from a football standpoint. So, that's kind of where we're at, and personally I don't really have anything to add that I know of."

When you have a team like this that has gone into multiple seasons with big expectations on being there at the end of the year, do you ever get the sense that the team has an impatience getting to those big picture goals? _(Childs Walker) _"It's a great question. The answer is not really, because you just can't afford to. Mark [Andrews] said it coming off the field here, 'Every game in the National Football League is a massive challenge.' Every game, all teams bring everything they've got, and they're all very talented teams. You have to be your best – and it's not just being your best in terms of being fired up, or being emotionally ready or being tough – you have to be at your best execution-wise. You have to be on point, you have to be sharp in order to win the game. You have to play winning football, and that's a challenge every single week. So, I think the guys understand the magnitude of the challenge every single week. The openers are always different. The opener is the opener, and you never really know where you're at until you play the first real game. You get a sense in the preseason a little bit, but until you line up against somebody for real, you don't really know where you're at. Then, you kind of go from there, and all of a sudden, things are going fast. So, they'll be doing things that we haven't practiced for that they've been practicing. We'll be doing things for sure that they haven't seen that we've been practicing. That's just the way openers are. Really, the first few weeks of the season are like that, then everybody kind of settles down into what they are. So, we have our work cut out for us – so do they. It's an opener."

Do you notice anything from the starters who didn't play in the preseason and if they are chomping at the bit more this year? _(Ryan Mink) _"I don't know; that'd be a good question for those guys. They're excited to play though, I know that."

Heading into the regular season, you have 52 of 53 players on the roster practicing. Do you feel a sense of validation in the way you approached the preseason to maintain health? _(Kyle Barber) _"No, because you just never know what leads to anything. You never know what's to blame for sure, and you never know what's to credit for sure. To be honest with you, I get on my knees every night and I thank God, in all honesty, that we're in a good place that way, and I pray for the next day to be good. But you also want your guys to have a good practice, and to be sharp, and be on point and be ready to go compete at the highest level. So, all of that is just kind of an unknown."

Some people were speculating whether QB Lamar Jackson should be practicing or playing without a new contract. Has that ever been a discussion? _(Jamison Hensley) _"No, the thing about this whole process is … You guys understand this because you're here, and you see Lamar [Jackson] every day, but everything that has been said is the absolute way it is. You don't hear conflicting reports, you don't hear any kind of back and forth because everyone is just telling you the truth. It is what it is. Lamar has said he's focused on the season, he's under contract, he's going to have the best season he can have. He's hopeful to get a new contract; we're hopeful to get him a new contract. But all the rest of it is business. There's nothing other than coming to something that's mutually agreeable. That's the way that all of these deals are done. So, obviously, I'm very hopeful, and I know everyone is really hopeful to get it done. But the focus remains on the football. Lamar's that way, coaches and players are all that way. That's what we're looking at."

Is there a reason why you don't name season-long team captains? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"Yes, we do weekly captains. We feel like we have leadership throughout the roster, especially with our veteran players, and we feel like we want to honor that and recognize that, that we're a team, and that we have a team of leaders. Every person out there on that field is a captain in their own right. Certainly, there are levels to that. You have guys like the veteran guys – you know who they are – those guys are our veteran leaders. But we also have some younger leaders that have an opportunity to walk out there, and to lead the team into a game is a really big deal. It's the way we've always done it; every team I've ever been on really. Every team I was on in college was like that. I really don't remember all the coaching [with] college teams, but every pro team I've ever been on has done it this way. So, that's how we like to do it."


On facing his former team, the New York Jets, in Week 1:"It's going to be fun. [There are] a lot of guys over there that I spent the year with last year [and] that I got to know, so I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to being able to open up [the season on] Sunday, football in New York, and I look forward to it. I'm excited."

On if he's excited to see what the Ravens are really about come Week 1:"Definitely. To be honest with you, I've been kind of itching to get out there. Obviously, a lot of us haven't played in the preseason, and we haven't had a joint practice to hit anybody else, so it's kind of like, 'Dang, I can't wait to hit somebody else.' But we did a great job of preparing ourselves, getting the work done in training camp on the pad days, especially me and 'Zeit' [Kevin Zeitler] – communicating, making sure we're game-like ready, so when we do stuff on the field on Sunday, the communication is going the way it needs to go."

On T Ronnie Stanley returning to practice today:"Anytime you can get an All-Pro tackle back, it's good. [We were in] good spirits to see him [Ronnie Stanley] out there, moving around and just being a part of the guys. Like myself, I've played nine years, so I know about how it feels to come off an injury and really just wanting to get back out there, and it's exciting to see him out there. And just also, we add another level of experience, another guy that can help the younger guys get acclimated, because it's a different course now [with the regular season]. Obviously, we've played through preseason, training camp, and now it's the real thing now. So, a lot of guys are trying to become pros and learn how to become pros and being able to have Ronnie [Stanley] out there, [who's] done it at a high level, it just adds to it."

On if he found himself peaking over at T Ronnie Stanley during drills:"I did. I was like … Literally, when he told me today, 'I'm going to go out there and do individuals today' … When I wasn't going, I stuck to the side, like, 'OK, alright, alright, he looks good, he looks like Ronnie Stanley.' It's really good to have him out there, and obviously, like I said, anytime you can get an All-Pro tackle back, it just boosts the morale of the team."

On the Jets' defensive front:"One thing I know [is] they're going to come out there with a lot of energy. They did a great job of flipping that roster. Even being there last year, you could feel that it was different, especially for me, [them] kind of giving me my first taste of what football really means, coming from Washington and things like that. But it's been great. Those guys … I know Coach [Robert] Saleh; he's going to have those guys on 100 – running around, fast football, pursuing. Then, you can't take it for granted [that] we're playing on 9/11 in New York, so it means a little bit more to them to get that win. So, we know they're going to come out swinging, and it's our job to stand at the plate and bat it out. I'm looking forward to it – it's going to be a great game – and looking forward to going out there and going out there as a Raven."

On QB Joe Flacco and if he ever discussed his Ravens days:"No, except for the book that they wrote on him as a Raven or something like that. I think we were talking about a book. But no, last year, Joe [Flacco] was a great mentor to Zach Wilson and a lot of the guys in the quarterback room. You're talking about a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback, who's won a Super Bowl here. So, we know what he brings to the table, as a football player and as an NFL-polished quarterback. It's [up to] our defense to get out there and get after them, but at the end of the day, just go out there and play winning football on all phases of the field."

On how QB Lamar Jackson has handled the storyline regarding his contract situation:"Being around [Lamar Jackson] here, and also being beside him in the locker room, he's calm, cool [and] collected. There's no better feeling [than] to see that your quarterback comes out every day and is just willing to work. He's come out here and worked. A lot of people have said his arm has gotten stronger, 'this' has gotten better; it all looks good to me; it all looks good to me. But just seeing a guy that just doesn't get phased … He's steady, stays the course; he's a polished quarterback. He's doing the things that he needs to do. He's getting the offense running; the guys are gravitating around him, and as a young quarterback in this league, that's what you want, and I look forward to just seeing him on Sunday getting out there. I know he hasn't played in the preseason; I know he's itching to get out there, and I'm looking forward to being out there and blocking for him."

On if his belief in the Ravens winning a championship was a factor in his decision to join Baltimore, and if that's on his mind to start the season:"I think I told somebody this: It wasn't until my first OTA [organized team activity] practice coming here, where I felt like, 'Dang, alright, I've got an opportunity to win a Super Bowl.' Obviously, you know the history of the Ravens, the winning streaks, the playoff runs and things like that. But I would say, in my first practice of OTAs, we covered every base that normally teams don't cover; we covered every situation, and that's winning football. So, when I left that first practice, I was like, 'Dang, this is what a championship practice feels like.' So, when you get that feeling, it just allows you to come in every day and just work at that goal. And obviously, when you say, 'Super Bowl,' you've got to take care of Game 1, Game 2, Game 3, all the way up, but that's the goal. But coming here, it's been a breath of fresh air – just being around the guys, the locker room. Ju'Wuan James, we got drafted in the same year, so being able to play with a guy like that, draft buddies ... Now, we talk about, 'Back in our days...' (laughter) But it's been fun, it's been great. I'm looking forward to Sunday."

On his chemistry with G Kevin Zeitler and the rest of the O-line:"I think the biggest thing playing with Kevin Zeitler is that we've both played a lot of football, and so, we're getting to that point where we don't even have to communicate; it's almost like a, 'Hmmm, hmmm,' and I'm like, 'Yeah, I got it, I got it!' But when you can get to that communication, life is just easier, because you know that guy has your back, he knows what you're thinking, and you know what he's thinking, and you just hit the ground running. So, I'm looking forward to playing beside him. And just the O-line room in general, it's been great; we've got so many guys, versatile guys. I talk about Pat [Mekari] all the time; the guy can play all five positions and do it well. That's unheard of in the NFL, and I praise him every day. I say, 'Dude, I've never seen some guy switch from center to right tackle to left tackle and go out there and do it well and not complain.' So, when you've got those types of guys in the locker room and in the O-line room, the sky is the limit."

On spending a lot of time signing autographs for fans at the last preseason game and if he thinks it's important:"I think it's important to the team. Everything I've heard about since being in training camp is the 'Ravens Flock. Ravens Flock.' So, being able to take a little bit of time out of your day just to sign some autographs – obviously, I knew I wasn't playing – so, I had a little bit of time before I had a workout on the field. But, just that energy they bring. I'm excited because once we get to a home game, that will be my first time playing as a Raven on the home field. Everyone tells me about these night games. So, I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to getting the season started. But, just hitting the ground running. Just hitting around, running fast and just going after those boys on 9/11."


On if he still gets excited for Week One at this stage in his career:"Yes, it's still exciting. It's still very fun to me. I'm looking forward to it."

On if he still takes time to teach the younger players:"Yes, they still ask questions. So, I'm still … Like I always tell them – I'm an open book. Anything you want to know about anything, dealing with on the field and off the field issues. I've been through some of everything. This is Year 12. There isn't too much I haven't seen or been through. So, I'm here to help."

On his favorite third year receiver on the team: (laughter) _"Some young guy. I can't think of his name. I think it's …" _(James Proche II: "Didn't he sit next to you on the airplane last year?")"Yes, he did some. He was aggravating." (laughter)

On what he's seen from OLB Odafe Oweh:"His work ethic – I think it definitely changed. He knows, to be good, to be great in this league, you have to work, and you see him now leaving the practice field late. I don't have to … Last year, I had to pull him along; this year, it's more so we pull each other along. There are days [when] I don't feel like going; he calls me over there. So, we're feeding off each other, and he's definitely willing to work; he's putting in work. So, I'm expecting a big year from him."

On if he feels like the Ravens never got a clean shot last season with all of the injuries and if the team might have that chance this season:"The way we played [last season], we didn't care who was down. We wished that everybody was healthy, but we came to play every game last year, and I was so proud to be a part of this team. There was never a game [where] we weren't out there, and because of who we were playing and who we had, we folded. Our last five games, they went down to the wire. We played our butts off. So, if you've got a group of guys like that, with that much heart and pride about themselves, the sky is the limit, especially if you've got everybody healthy and keep them healthy."

On his belief in this team's chances of winning the Super Bowl:"I'm a big believer in 'The power of the tongue speaks life and death [Proverbs 18:21],' so we're going to get that ring this year. I'm tired of hoping and wishing. We're going to get it. I'm going to speak it into existence. That means everything. That's why we're here; that's why you work together as one team, as one goal. The common goal is to get that ring. That's why I'm here still playing, still chasing that ring. I haven't had that opportunity. I came close, but I think this year, by far, this will be my best year and our best year as a team to get that ring."

On if he wonders about how many reps he could see on Sunday:"Not at all. My whole thing [is] I'm ready to go – by all means. I've never been a guy that wasn't prepared; I'm going to be prepared by all means. I'll be ready. If they need me to play every snap, I'm playing every snap I can play. They'll carry me off the field before I quit. I was told, 'You'll pass out before you die,' so I'm willing to pass out. (laughter)So, I'm here to play, baby."

On defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald:"He [defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald] is a very smart coach, and if you've talked to him, you definitely can't tell this is his first year as a defensive coordinator in this league. He's very experienced. Even though he may not have [had] that title, he's definitely got the knowledge and mindset of a veteran defensive coordinator. So, I think he's unbelievable. The way he carries … The way he demands from us, the way he puts stuff together, the way he thinks, and the way he sees things, it also helps us. He's simplified it for us, and I think it's going to be a big help for us as a whole."

On if he prefers to face a particular Jets quarterback on Sunday:"No, it doesn't matter. We're just ready to play ball. We're tired of hitting each other. Training camp is long – going against the same guys day-in and day-out. I'm just looking [forward] to hitting another jersey."

On his progression from "Yoda" to "Sensei," and sharing more life advice with his younger, less experienced teammates:"I just think that's the position I'm in this year. They're growing up and understanding who they are and what they're dealing with, so now, they have some real-life questions. Life is real; it's not just about football. They had an offseason to go through without dealing with football. As a rookie, you really don't get an offseason. You finish your college ball, and then you've got to get ready for the Combine. You've got the whole rookie process you go through, so you really don't have an offseason. [This year] they faced a real offseason, so they have real problems, so in that case, they have more questions."

On sharing last year that his son was excited for him to get his 100th-career sack and if his son is teasing about a new sack number this year:"Oh, that top number was 130 [sacks]; 100 was just to quiet him a little bit. But he's back talking noise, so I've got to hush him up. I'm going to be around for a little while." (laughter)